29 February 2012

Eucharist is Not a Political Football

By Mary E. Hunt

The Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER) offers condolences to Barbara Johnson of Washington, DC, on the death of her mother. We support Ms. Johnson in the face of pastoral insensitivity shown by the priest who presided at the funeral mass for her mother. To deny the Eucharist to the daughter of a Catholic mother at her funeral is beyond any excuse or explanation.

The Eucharist is a sacrament, not a political football. All are welcome at the table. Barbara Johnson and others who are denied their rightful access to communion have their spiritual rights violated. Until those rights are restored, let people of good will set their own welcome tables.

This terrible abuse of one family at a time of great pastoral need is but a snapshot of anti-LGBTIQ theology in action. It is outdated, outmoded, and outrageous. The institutional church owes the family an apology and the priest a remedial course in sacramental and pastoral theology.

WATER joins colleagues from many religious traditions who seek to counter the theological foundations that ground actions such as the one taken by the priest in this case. While he acted alone, he acted in concert with the Roman Catholic institutional church whose teachings on same-sex love create an unwelcome environment for same-sex loving persons and their allies. We work to be sure that all are welcome all the time.